Disable WordPress Automatic Updates

In version 3.7 WordPress introduced automatic background updates. The idea was to improve security across the board and to use their words “streamline the update experience”. Here at Reactive we highly recommend preforming all updates, WordPress and plugins. If an update is available there is a good reason why.

Even developers like us don’t always have the time needed to properly backup and then update sites such as this. As anyone who has been hacked before knows, its better to backup and preform updates on a regular basis then not. Especially the security updates which are the most important and should not be delayed.

In-order to disable All updates insert one or both of the following into the wp-config.php file:


In-order to disable Core updates:

define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', false );

 WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE can have one of three values:

  1. true = Development, minor, and major updates are all enabled.
  2. false = Development, minor, and major updates are all disabled.
  3. minor = Minor updates are enabled, development, and major updates are disabled.

In our experience any client or script that is going to automatically update a WordPress website without a daily backup service, is asking for problems. Not every plugin or core update is always going to install properly. Each time an update is to be preformed make sure a complete backup of both site files and database(s) is preformed. 

Here at Reactive Development we offer maintenance agreements, with our support your updates will NOT be preformed by WordPress but by an expert technician in a sandbox environment before being made live to the public. Contact us to learn more.

In the event your website does not have a daily backup service or someone managing your WordPress installation, with some development experience you can use filters to control what is updated.

To allow major updates place this in your themes functions.php file:

add_filter( 'allow_major_auto_core_updates', '__return_true' );

To disable minor updates:

add_filter( 'allow_minor_auto_core_updates', '__return_false' );

To disable theme updates:

add_filter( 'auto_update_theme', '__return_false' );

To disable plugin updates:

add_filter( 'auto_update_plugin', '__return_false' );

DO NOT attempt adding any of the code above without having prior PHP experience. Contact us and have an expert help you out.

For more information about these filters go here to read more in the codex. Adding one ore more may improve the way WordPress Automatic updates help, but keep in-mid Step 1 in security is being up-to-date.